Known for its rich history, romantic atmosphere, and gorgeous water canals, Venice is facing a problem in relation to tourism. And it’s not the lack thereof.
Following a cruise ship crash into a dock several months ago, Venice has taken steps towards banning cruise ship entry into the city altogether. More recently, Venetian officials have asked other European cruise destinations to join its effort in eliminating cruise ship visits.
Locals have long battled for cruise ships to be banned, taking to the city's streets and canals in protest at the enormous vessels clogging the waterways and damaging the city’s foundation.
Italian government officials announced that cruise ships will gradually be rerouted away from the city center beginning in September 2019. By 2020, at least one-third of the cruises visiting Venice are expected to dock at ports closer to the Italian mainland, including Fusina and Lombardia.
Italy’s Minister of Transport Danilo Toninelli said: “Starting now, we will decrease the number of liners passing by Giudecca and San Marco, particularly the bigger ones. The aim is to reroute about one-third of the cruise ships already booked on Venice towards new berths by 2020. We've been talking about big ships for 15 years and nothing has been done. These floating palaces will start to go elsewhere."
Long-term cruise ports have yet to be determined.
“The cruise industry has worked diligently with the Mayor of Venice, the Veneto Region, the Port Authority, and many others to find viable solutions to allow larger cruise ships to access the Marittima berths without transiting the Giudecca Canal, and we are in agreement with the solution developed by Comitatone in 2017, to utilize the Vittorio Emanuele Canal as the best and most prudent means to move larger cruise ships away from the Giudecca," he added. "CLIA cruise line members welcome and will support the urgent implementation of this solution."
With over 30 million visitors each year, Venice’s struggle with overtourism has been an increasing issue for several years.
“The growing size of vessels, their environmental impacts on the areas surrounding the ports, and the 'burden' that the increasing number of tourists … are creating a situation of conflict,” Pino Musolino, chairman of the northern Adriatic Sea Port Authority, wrote in a recent letter to eight fellow port authorities.